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The holiday season is upon us and retailers are already preparing for what they hope will be a successful shopping season. Because of COVID-19, it’s likely that we’ll be going online to look for those perfect gifts. With so many deals around and what seem like eternal “Black Friday" sales, it’s important to keep some online shopping tips in mind. 

Tips for the Holiday Shopping Season

So, if you plan to shop from the comfort of your home this year instead of heading out in person for those doorbuster deals, first, make sure your home computer has the latest antivirus software updated. This will help protect you from hackers and identity thieves. Read more computer safety tips here

Once you’re ready to shop, make sure you:

  • Take time to compare products. To get the best deal, compare products. Do research online, check product comparison sites, and read online reviews.
  • Check out the seller. Confirm that the seller is legit. Look for reviews about their reputation and customer service, and be sure you can contact the seller if you have a dispute.
  • Look for coupon codes. Search the store’s name with terms like “coupons,” “discounts,” or “free shipping.”
  • Pay by credit card. Paying by credit card gives you added protections. Never mail cash or wire money to online sellers. If the seller asks you to pay this way, it could be a scam.
  • Use secure checkout. Before you enter your credit card information online, check that the website address starts with “https.” The “s” stands for secure. If you don’t see the “s,” don’t enter your information.
  • Keep records of online transactions until you get the goods, confirm you got what you ordered, and that you’re satisfied you won’t have to return the item.

Check out more ways to ensure hassle-free online shopping here. And if you spot a fraud while shopping online this holiday season, report it to the FTC at


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
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November 23, 2020
Thanks. I got scammed not long ago. Filed a report with FTC. Filed disputes with my banks. Waiting for result. Good information from FTC. Have learnt a lot. Be safe while shopping online people. T
Disharted citizen
November 23, 2020
Thank you for the tips. As going to the mall could kill me and shopping on line could kill my credit, I am going back to bed. But.. thank you.
November 23, 2020
Some websites of different companies may use the same product image. Don't be fooled.
November 25, 2020
I was scammed recently trying to trade Gift card with a website called TRUTHX please beware they are scam,they collected my $150gift card but didn't credit me
November 29, 2020
Thank you for this timely information. It is scary knowing that wicked people are waiting to steal from you your safety computer shopping tips are excellent and should be read by all. Carrol
December 06, 2020
Also I think using credit cards is much better vs. debit cards... disputing a charge on a debit card is a lot longer process.
Already Cautious
December 09, 2020
Thanks for the warning. Already had a similar experience. Still working on it; but this is the 1st time I've heard that hyper text has an "s"trailer guard. Now I'm enlightened.
Already Cautious
December 09, 2020
Thanks for the warning. Already had a similar experience. Still working on it; but this is the 1st time I've heard that hyper text has an "s"trailer guard. Now I'm enlightened.
Claim Associate
December 31, 2020
I never knew about the 's' in 'https' THANKS!